Sunday, June 5, 2011

ECU Tailgate and Visitors Guide '11

This is one of a series of tailgating guides for C-USA football schools written by Syracuse fan and tailgate aficionado TexanMark. If you have any feedback or additional information you think belongs in this guide, please drop an email message to Mark by clicking here.

The Beautiful ECU Campus Click to enlarge

First Things first: GETTING THERE

Unless you live within 7-8 hours the game at Greenville (ECU) will require you to fly in. The bad news is Greenville, NC is rather small (85,000 city and 180,000 in Pitt County) and airline service is very limited. All I could find was about 5 flights a day to Charlotte via USAirways out of Pitt-Greenville (PGV) Airport. You might get lucky and find a decent airfare so give it a try. For all others I recommend flying into Raleigh-Durham International (RDU) which is about 75 minutes (non rush hour) west of Greenville. The airport in Raleigh is huge and offers many nonstops and does offer some good airfares with Southwest, AirTran and Frontier (nee Midwest Express) all serving the market. Another small regional airport is located about 45 mins away in New Bern. It is worth a look. One other option is to fly into Norfolk International (ORF). I have found many very good airfares in there. It is a very nice airport and easy to get in and out of and is about two hours from ECU and Greenville. For those with some time, you might consider Amtrak. There is service into nearby Rocky Mount or Raleigh. Finally if golf and beach are on your mind you can try Myrtle Beach, SC and Wilmington, NC airports a few hours to the south (they each possess some low cost air carriers).

Greenville is not a tourist destination however, it does offer some museums in town but being a smaller town it doesn't offer as much as compared to many other CUSA locales. The good news is it is within a couple hours of the North Carolina Outer Banks and Beaches. Vacation Idea: Fly into Norfolk or Raleigh and drive to the Outer Banks. The motel/condo/rental homes drop their rates after Labor Day and the Outer Banks can offer beach and swim weather easily until mid/late October. Many of the rental units allow 8-12 people to stay together so you could split the cost among friends and save some money. The Outer Banks need to be explored by car but it does offer you the opportunity to ride a ferry to get a real nautical experience. This neat website details the Southern Outer Banks. Obviously golfers will find NC a golfers' paradise. Myrtle Beach, SC is about three hours south and the Pinehurst is not too far away along with many great courses in the North Carolna Coastal Area. More Golf recommendations below.

Enjoy a Pepsi in New Bern

A few other destinations surely to please: New Bern, NC birthplace of Pepsi, Morehead City and Atlantic Beach for those beach, water and boat lovers, Raleigh for those who want to see a bigger city (or maybe stay there and drive over for the game), and finally for you history buffs, historic Williamsburg, VA.

Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium Directions

The ECU campus is smack dab in the middle of Greenville. ECU plays their games in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. The stadium is located about 3/4 mile south of the main campus near 14th Street and Charles Blvd. The stadium was built in the early 60s and has gradually expanded throughout the years as ECU's stature grew in college football. It currently seats about 50,000 and offers great sight lines. Formal Stadium policies give you all the info needed to enjoy game day experience. Stadium expansion raised seating from 43k to 50k in 2010. They have been approved to raise it again to 58k over the next few years. In 2010 the east end zone got 7,000 new seats to bring capacity up to 50,000. The stadium has made great strides in the past 10 years. It has made the transistion from a glorified erector set to a BCS quality Football Stadium. Nice job...ECU.

Dowdy-Ficklen Rocking with 50,000

The following directions are courtesy of the official ECU Pirates website:

From the Tidewater, Va., Area Take US 13 from Suffolk to Ahoskie, N.C. Take bypass around Ahoskie (NC 11). Take NC 11 to Greenville. NC 11 turns into Memorial Drive. Take Fifth Street to Cotanche Street and take a right. Take Cotanche, which turns into Charles Blvd., to Ficklen Drive and take a left. Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium is up the hill on the right.

From the North Take I-95 South to NC 903 exit (Halifax, N.C.). Take left over the overpass. Take NC 903 for eight miles until you reach US 301. Take left onto NC 125/903 and continue for 15 miles until you reach Scotland Neck. Take a right on US 258 when you reach Scotland Neck and go about 1-2 miles through downtown. Then take a left onto NC 125 for about 15 miles to Oak City. Take a right onto NC 11 at Oak City. Continue on NC 11 (25 miles) to Greenville where it turns into Memorial Drive. Take Memorial Drive to Fifth Street and take a left. Take Fifth Street to Cotanche Street and take a right. Take Cotanche, which turns into Charles Blvd., to Ficklen Drive and take a left. Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium is up the hill on the right. Edit: if you want a simpler route with less two lane highways I suggest you come in US 264 off I-95 near Wilson (essentially follow the directions for coming from the south)

From the South Take I-95 North to US 264 exit (Wilson, N.C.). Take a right and continue on US 264 past Wilson and head into Greenville. Take US 264 to Allen Road and turn right. Allen Road turns into Greenville Blvd. Take Greenville Blvd. to Charles Blvd. and take a left (ECU message board on corner). Take Charles Blvd. down hill and turn right on Ficklen Drive. Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium is up the hill on the right.

From Triangle Area Take US 64 from Raleigh and head east. Take US 264 in Zebulon and head east past Wilson and into Greenville. Take US 264 to Allen Road and turn right. Allen Road turns into Greenville Blvd. Take Greenville Blvd. to Charles Blvd. and take a left (ECU message board on corner). Take Charles Blvd. down hill and turn right on Ficklen Drive. Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium is up the hill on the right.

From Wilmington Take Interstate 40 northwest to Wallace. Take right onto NC 41 and head north through Chiquapin and Beulaville (about 20-25 miles). Get on NC 241 in Beulaville and head about 10 miles north to Pink Hill, where you will pick up NC 11. Take NC 11 through downtown Kinston and into Greenville, where it turns into Memorial Drive. Take Memorial Drive (past Carolina East Mall) to Greenville Blvd., where you will take a right. Take Greenville Blvd. to Charles Blvd. and take a left (ECU message board on corner). Take Charles Blvd. down hill and turn right on Ficklen Drive. Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium is up the hill on the right.

Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium Click to enlarge


Parking is relatively easy here. This PDF Map is for non-gameday parking but does show the lots in good detail. They have identified lots for gameday general admission visitors. ECU just might have the best tailgate scene in CUSA. The scenery is first rate. Tailgating starts six hours before kickoff (but never earlier than 8 AM), more official rules can be seen here. The 2010 Football General Parking Plan with other rules and valuable information is here. A few items of interest:
Parking for football fans without reserved parking passes will be available in the Carol Belk Building lot along Charles Boulevard ($20 per vehicle) and in the gravel lots along 14th Street ($20 per vehicle). Parking is limited and lots will open six hours prior to kick-off (8:00 a.m. for noon kick-offs) and spaces will be first-come-first-served. Access to the lots along 14th Street will be shut down four (4) hours prior to kick-off.

Recreational vehicle parking is available in the Carol Belk Building lot. The parking fee is $100 per RV and advance reservation and payment is required. No day of game RVs will be allowed without advance reservation. Please contact Mike Cherry (252) 737- 4517 to make arrangements for general public RV parking space.
Note: ECU fans tell me this is the only real option for visiting fans. The good news is Sat TV reception is good here if you have a dish.

From the official ECU guide:

ECU Parking Map Click to view--suitable for printing.

Some notes to help you about the lots:

Lot 16: the new track and field complex.

Lot 13/RV Lot: This area is mainly for RV's and people cooking pigs. Usually for the older crowd (as in 30+ year old).

Overnight parking for RVs is permitted for Friday evenings after 6 p.m. in the designated area. All vehicles must be self-contained; no electrical hook-ups are available. Contact (252) 737-4517 for specific recreational vehicle parking information or email at General RV parking passes will be available at the beginning of August.

Disabled Parking/Tickets: Parking for handicapped persons is available near the stadium on both the East and West sides. This area offers space on a first-come, first-served basis. Patrons must display the required handicapped parking permit to park in this area. If additional information is needed, please call (252) 737-4694. If you fail to arrange something prior it looks like Lot 18 and a shuttle ride is your option.

Lot 10: Areas near Elmhurst School are open to all, if you are Greek odds are you will be tailgating near Eppes now. Most organized events usually put up tents and have a rather large set-up so you can tell they're in the business of celebration.

The area around C.M Eppes Middle School. This area is filled with mostly students who want more room for their tailgating set-up. This area also boasts less cops (since it is not University property), so blast your music as loud as you wish! NOTE: The lots near Eppes are permit but visitor lots are just north of the school.

Lot 7: Visiting Fans/Non Permit Holders Parking: The best area for visiting fans to park is north of 14th Street in the vicinity of C.M Eppes Middle School and Todd Dining Hall. EDIT: Look for College Hill Drive on the map above (it runs between E 14th St and East 10th St) and the lots are just south of 10th St.

Lot 18: The area listed on the map near the Allied Health center is now general parking and as mentioned above can accommodate the disabled.

If in doubt you can contact ECU Parking Services

Another parking option is curbside parking east of the stadium in the area of West Berkley Road. An ECU fan states:
"curbside parking...a lot of fans park in this residential area and 10 minute walk to the stadium. A lot of tailgaters for the lots around Elmhurst School park here due to limited parking spaces in the actual school lots. Arrive at least 3 hours before game time for parking as space goes fast. Do not block driveways, park or tailgate in someones yard. Police and wreckers will be called."

ECU Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Every fan visiting ECU needs to check out this website. Den does a great job and his has a great Gameday Page you must visit.

Tailgate Supplies

ECU has a Harris Teeter Store located very close to the stadium at the intersection of Charles and 14th. Be advised you should go to customer service and ask for a VIC Card to get the discounted prices on many items. That intersection also has two convenience stores. You can buy beer and wine in grocery/convenience stores in NC. On campus the Galley offers food to go (located in Jones Hall) and Pirate Market is a full sized convenience store also located in Jones Hall on College Hill. You have to buy liquor in ABC Stores. The closest ABC store about a 1/2 mile away SE of the stadium at Greenville 337 Arlington Blvd, Phone: 252-756-2955, Store Hours: M-S 10am-9pm. For you Walmart fans: Greenville has a Supercenter. It is located a few miles away and is usually very busy.

Ticket Scalpers and You:

If available I recommend buying tickets here: If the game isn't sold out you can buy tickets on game day at Minges Coliseum. More info can be found at the official website. The ticket reselling scene at ECU is mostly "laid back" and usually revolves around fellow fans exchanging tickets and money in the tailgate parking lots or along the sidewalks leading to the stadium.

Ticket Scalping is illegal in North Carolina to sell tickets by the original owner for more than face value + $3. There is a movement to liberalize the laws...stay tuned.
Disclaimer: The following info describes where ticket reselling happens. I recommend buying tickets legally. If you aren't sure of current local laws ask someone knowledgeable.
One ECU fan states:
The best way to get tickets is to troll the tailgating lots hours
before the game. They are usually available for face value or lower
for less desirable games. As it gets closer to game time stand near the main entrances to the stadium on the press box (south) side or the scoreboard area (east side) for best results. The upper deck side is more students than anything else.

ECU Seating Chart for 2011


City Hotel and Bistro

Greenville offers nearly 2,100 rooms of lodging so if you plan early you shouldn't have a problem getting a room. If you are trying to book a room within a couple months of the more popular games you might find no room at the inn. Here is a nice overview of lodging in Greenville. New motels are being added so it pays to ask a hotel clerk if they know of any new motels if they are soldout at the place you are trying to reserve. Yahoo and Google both give a nice overview of motels in the area. Caution: I saw one case where the attached link was going to book you a room in another town--be careful. Finally, if you are in dire straits try this web site: it gives alot of roadside Mom and Pop Motels. The ecutty website suggests: If Greenville is booked, we suggest Washington (east), Tarboro, (northwest), Wilson (west) & Rocky Mount (northwest) in that order.

Greenville Unique: City Hotel and Bistro: Very nice rooms and a nightclub off the lobby. Other popular motels (so book early): Wingate Inn, Courtyard by Marriott, Best Western, Hilton and the Comfort Inn.


Eastern NC Style Barbeque Pulled Pork--Yum

Eastern North Carolina Barbeque is noted as being distinct from BBQ west of I-95 and South Carolina and Georgia. Several joints distinguish themselves in Greenville: arguably the best joint in town is B's, don't call or look for a website--they don't have a phone or a website but they made USAToday's list of great joints in NC. One more place,Parkers Barbeque has some fans but some detractors, too...they are noted for their corn sticks and offers other courses beside BBQ. The original Parkers is west of Greenville in Wilson. Head south of town to Ayden for another joint mentioned by USAToday. The Skylight Inn is worth the drive. Finally a new entry Pete's Wycked Grill. They feature Texas style brisket, Lexington style pulled pork, Memphis Style ribs, Smoked chicken 1/2's and wings, and other goodies. Tailgate packages are available.

It must be noted that BBQ has two camps in NC as quoted from this USAToday article:

North Carolina's pit masters are, for the most part, a collegial bunch, but they part ranks somewhere around Raleigh. Easterners cook the whole pig and sauce it with a vinegar-based, pepper mix. Western-style (also called Lexington-style) barbecue consists of shoulders or Boston butts (the top half of the shoulder), and the sauce (called "dip") is a tangy vinegar-based mix with tomato paste, spices and brown sugar.

To hear it from both camps, preferences run deep.

Andy Stephenson, owner of Stephenson's Bar-B-Q in Willow Springs, 20 miles south of Raleigh, won't acknowledge ever tasting western-style 'cue. "I've never eaten red barbecue. I've seen it, but that's as far as I care to go," he says.
For those that want to see the difference in recipes between west and east this site has alot of recipes.

Other Foods--Dining

The University Chop House has a great rep for fine steaks and other foods. The other steak places in town are mostly chains. Texas Steakhouse deserves a mention though...they have great steaks as well as delicious ribs. Texas Roadhouse the national chain also has great steaks and considered a great value. If you want Italian try Finelli's, it is relocating to a new location at 511 Red Banks Rd. in the old Staccato's Restaurant. Mexican? Locals swear by Chico's downtown and also south of town towards Winterville. A new Tex_Mex place is on the scene called Armadillo Grill in the popular 5th Street downtown area and it looks like a fun place to have a good meal and a few beers. Pizza, try Boli's 5th Ave Pizzeria. Boli's is located near the campus in downtown (also referred to as "Uptown"). The very popular Winslow's Deli has a varied menu sure to please everyone. Winslow's is noted for their excellent food and cold beer and usually has a crowd of younger folks socializing. If you want to get away from campus for something different try CPW's . Looking for a good burger or cheese-steak downtown? Try Cubbie's or Andy's (look under Grills). The Starlight Cafe offers an eclectic upscale menu and is located near Campus. Seafood: Dixie Queen is a very good seafood restaurant with 3 locations in the Greenville area. HINT: Uptown/Downtown Greenville caters to a young crowd on the weekend nights.

Cubbie's For Great Burgers Cheddar's is a regional chain and has a good reputation. A new is located next to the Sears on the south side of town.

Finally, two new restaurants being built in Greenville...hopefully they will be open by Football season. The Mellow Mushroom for Pizza and Beer and the Carolina Ale House for Beer, Sports and Food.

SPORTS BAR Alert: If you wanna watch some games and chow down on Wings then Buffalo Wild Wings is for you. It is located close by to the stadium. They offer ESPN Gameplan, CBS College Sports and Versus along with all the other sports channels. Another sports bar very popular with the locals is Professor O'Cools. They offer Good food, 30 TVs, ESPN Gameplan and is owned by a Pittsburgh Steeler Fan. If you are staying over for Sunday this is a great place to watch NFL games. It is located in the Big Lot's Shopping Center behind Logan's Roadhouse (kinda like a Texas Roadhouse). If you are looking for more night clubs look here or here. Finally, Upper Deck Sports Bar is a family own place that offers lots of TVs and great food.

College and 20 Something Crowd: These bars all come recommended: Club 519 (21+ ginormiously popular), Levels (21+ and eclectic), Pantana Bob's or PB's (Where the Greeks are), and Christy's Euro Pub...all these are located downtown and "gvegasmagazine gives you all the info.

A nice website that offers coupons for various restaurants in Greenville.

FREEBOOT FRIDAY's: Uptown Greenville the place to go on Friday for Bands, food and Drink. Lot's of ECU Fans always attend. I have been told Uptown Greenville is the place to go most nights for the party scene.

SHOPPING For the nonFootball Watching Spouse:

If you have a spouse who could careless about football but came along here are some ideas: Antique Shops are numerous in Greenville, Lynncroft a nice, modern strip center at 3150 Evans St, and the Greenville Mall.


Golf in North Carolina is truly an awesome experience. With Greenville usually having decent weather for golf throughout the football season a trip to the links is a must for all golfers.

Bradford Creek Golf Course

The local municipal is a well maintained course designed in an open links style. It is reasonable, close and offers a lighted driving range. I read a collared shirt is required despite being a muni.

Ironwood Golf and Country Club

A semi-private country club (home to the ECU Golf Team) is built around a residential community. They allow nonsponsored play with a 48 hours advance notice. Voted by Golf Digest as the best course to play in the Greenville Area.

Fabulous Ironwood Golf and Country Club

Ayden Golf and Country Club

Ayden Golf and Country Club located a short drive south of Greenville that comes with great reviews.

If you have time to drive several hours away then Myrtle Beach, SC is a must do and is about three hours south. The Pinehurst Golf Resort is about 2 1/2 hours away (west of Fayetteville).

Pinehurst Golf Resort One of the World's Great Golf Destinations

Finally, I'd like to thank all the posters at Boneyard Banter who helped me with getting the most correct info and the awesome recommendations--thanks

The best ECU internet forum is here: Boneyard Banter

The opinions expressed in this guide are those of TexanMark. While every effort has been made to ensure all the information presented is accurate and current, it would be wise to verify things when possible. Please note that this guide is not endorsed by, or its site publishers, administrators and/or moderators.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Connecticut Tailgate and Visitors Guide '11

Connecticut State Capital in Hartford Click to enlarge

This is one of a series of tailgating guides for Big East football schools written by Syracuse fan and tailgate aficionado TexanMark. If you have any feedback or additional information you think belongs in this guide, please drop an email message to Mark by clicking here.

First Things First: GETTING THERE

UConn is close for most Rutgers and Syracuse fans but others will have a bit further to go. Pittsburgh and Morgantown based fans should expect 8-9 hour drives. A word of advice: try to avoid going through NJ if you are traveling during peak traffic periods. You should look at driving up to Scranton, PA and take I-84 to CT.


People can fly to Hartford inexpensively via Southwest Airlines or alternatively to Providence and Albany (and drive over). Of course, you can also fly into Boston (95 miles to East Hartford) or any of the Metro NYC airports. Before flying into NYC or Boston you should check airfare and if nonstop service is available into Hartford-Bradley Int'l. The airport is quite large and offers excellent service to many markets. There are no direct trains from NY or Boston (required change in New Haven or Springfield respectively). However, you can easily take a bus or drive from South Station in Boston or the Port Authority in the City to Hartford.

UConn’s football stadium is located about 30 minutes west of Storrs in East Hartford (a separate city from Hartford ). The stadium is about three miles east of Downtown Hartford. In East Hartford, there is easy access off I-84 at Silver Lane. From the west take I-84 East toward East Hartford. Follow I-84 East to Exit 58, ROBERTS STREET/SILVER LANE. On the Exit Ramp, keep to the right and continue straight through Silver Lane into the RENTSCHLER FIELD MAIN GATE. (Driving directions from other approaches can be found here)

It is a great venue with seating close to the field. It was literally built on an old Pratt and Whitney Factory Airfield (Rentschler Airfield) and opened for the fall 2003 season. You can checkout your seating location By clicking on the interactive seating tab on the left side of the stadium web page.

You can park just outside the stadium if you have preferred VIP seating or access to a season parking pass. If not you can park in the general parking areas south of the stadium (near Cabela's) which is also where the RVs park. You will be parking your car near the old Runway/taxiways and should enter the Willow Street Gate. You can catch a shuttle from the outlying lots to the stadium. For a Weeknight game, you will find folks entering the parking lot around 3:30pm . Saturday games depend on the kickoff time but expect the hardcore to arrive 4 hours prior to kickoff. Expect to pay $12 for cars, $20 for RVs, and $30 for buses. Close in parking is available for handicap you must hang an official tag from your state.

GENERAL ADMISSION LOTS (south of the stadium enter through Willow St.)

General Admission parking is located at the Hanger and Red-South Lots. RV parking is near Red-South. This link will show you all your various options.

If you do not want to park with the masses a better option might be the Aero Club discussed below or other private lots along Silver Lane and adjacent side streets.

Rentschler Field


UConn has a restrictive tailgating policy in their official parking areas.

A quick summary of rules: Small propane grills are okay, kegs are not, tailgating must end two hours after day games and no tailgating after night games. Also note: it you toss a football in the parking lots you are asking for trouble from the parking lot monitors--it is not allowed. UConn fans have assured me this is much overstated. The major part of tailgating occurs after the game as the “hardcore kick back, grill and kibitz about the game crowd” takes over the parking lots. On Saturdays, some will bring TV’s and stay from after the game well into twilight (6 PM or beyond).

They serve Beer in the Stadium (lots of variety too; everything from Sam Adams, Rolling Rock, Heineken, Corona , and Bud … to local Brewpub pints. This is not an on-campus facility.

Rentschler Field Panorama Click to enlarge
Image Courtesy of UConn fan Santini15

You won’t find large numbers of professional scalpers selling tickets around the stadium. It just isn’t part of the environment for UConn. That’s not to say you won’t find some guy waving an extra ticket at the gate; I do not think you’ll find volumes of tickets available … but there will be some. The best spots to find tickets are at the end of the runways nearest the stadium or near the two gates on the other side of the stadium ( Silver Lane side). Ticket Scalping Rules get liberalized on October 1st, 2007.

UConn Fan Tailgating off her Tailgate (Pic from

More Tailgate Options:

Google Maps was so nice to snap a picture while a UConn game was going on. You can get a great view of the official and unofficial parking lots around the stadium.

If you have the inclination you can cruise Silver Lane east of the stadium. Parking is offered in the parking lot of Silva’s Youth of Today Learning Center, 656 Silver Lane, just east of Rentschler Field. HINT: One more potential parking spot came to my attention. It is at Medical Care Center - 677 Silver Lane. It's on the same side of the street as the stadium. They charged $10 for a recent rock concert so I expect they'll charge the same for a UConn game. There are other lots in the vicinity that charge usually a nominal amount to park. If you are coming from the east you might consider taking I-384 and exiting at Silver Lane and drive west toward the stadium and start looking. Down the road: I expect a few other lots east of the stadium will sell parking with more retail projects taking away some parking spaces south and west of the stadium. I have also been told if you park near Forbes St. and Silver Lane there is a closed down Cinema with ample parking. Note: I would ask a local fan first before parking in any empty business lots.

Visiting Fans Best Option--Pratt and Whitney Aircraft Club on Silver Lane

The Aircraft Club was going to become a reserved parking lot before the 2007 season due to Cabelas. Fortunately the powers that be let it became available again for season permit use. So the Aircraft Club Lots to revert back to general admission lots. I just tailgated there again November 2011. This in my opinion is the absolute best lot in the Big East for visiting fans to use! The lot offers clean inside bathrooms, lots of grassy fields and relaxed rules. It is $10 and do they allow RVs ($20). TexanMark Tip: There are two entrances: the one at 560 Silver Lane (look for the softball fields) and the unpublicized one at 200 Clement Road. The back entrance is very convenient for those staying at the hotels on Robert Street if you want to leave your car behind. The beauty of the back entrance is it affords an access to the lot on the north side when Silver Lane is bogged down with game traffic. If you are coming from the freeway (I-84) just head to Clement Street. If there are barricades up you should be able to drive around them. Tell the police you are going to the Aircraft Club off Clement and they'll let you go. The North exit also allows for an extremely fast get away as you are just a few turns on back streets to get to I-84. One more place is available just east of the Aircraft Club. The old Frank's Nursery at 656 Silver Lane offers parking for $10 on game day.


NOTE: Just east of the stadium is Town & Country Package Store 785 Silver Lane Phone# 860-569-1444 and the Super Stop and Shop (a full range grocery and pharmacy) at 940 Silver Lane in Charter Oak Shopping Plaza (Just before Forbes St.) Phone# 860-569-7050 They use a rewards card so you might ask the cashier to scan their card for you. Lotte's, 818 Silver Lane, ph(860) 895-8779‎ offers Beer among other things. If you are entering the stadium from Willow (west side) you might want to stop at Shop Rite (nee Shaw's) on Main Street in East Hartford. It is a full service grocery store. They use a Shop Rite Price Plus Club Rewards Card so if you don't have one you might ask the cashier if she can scan their card for you. If you are staying in the motels south of the stadium in Glastonbury there is a Stop and Shop next to the Hilton Garden Inn.

Cabela's A New Option

Cabela's opened fall 2007 just southwest of the stadium. They offer game day/tailgating supplies, rain ponchos and clothing. This is a destination store and well worth your time to check it out. Your kids will love it.

LODGING (Close):

The bad news is not a lot of lodging located within walking distance. Two (One temporarily see below) motels are located across the freeway on the north side but you can walk to the stadium.

The Comfort Inn and Suites, 333 Roberts St. offered nice accommodations at a moderate price. It was remodeled and renamed in 2010. This used to be the Wellesley Inn until July 05 when it converted to the Days Inn which lasted until mid 2009.

The other close motel is the Ramada Inn and also offers nice rooms for a moderate price (860-528-9611, 363 Roberts St .)
NOTE: This was the Holiday Inn until early 2010 when it was closed and remodeled as a Ramada. The Ramada offers the Sleep Number Beds.If you reserve early you should be able to get a room in either motel for about $100 a night. Two-night minimum stays are not required which is great for quick trips. I believe both have shuttles to the gate. Margarita’s Restaurant is large and has hosted "get-togethers" for opponents both pregame and post game. It is located across the street from the two motels.

EconoLodge (ph 860-569-1100, 490 Main St. East Hartford) This Econolodge property is about a 15 minute walk away from the stadium.

LODGING (5-10 minutes away):

Sheraton Hartford has changed hands tot he Hartford Plaza Hotel (100 East River Dr. East Hartford)
This motel is bit farther away but is an easy drive to the stadium. If you are in good shape and it is a nice day you can attempt to walk to the stadium but it is probably 2 miles away.

Two other hotels in East Hartford or Manchester but not within walking distance:
Clarion Suites (ph 860-643-5811, 191 Spencer St. Manchester)

Finally one new option has arrived to East Hartford on Pitken Street. Opened late 2009 is a Hampton Inn. It offers a nice view of the river/bridge and located by the Riverwalk.
America's Best Value Inn--BUDGET ALERT 400 Tolland Turnpike Manchester Phone: 860-643-1555
It is located about 5 miles east of the stadium on the south side of I-84. It has some very reasonable rates for Connecticut. So if you want to save some money this might be your best bet. It is very close to shopping and restaurants.

The town of Glastonbury is a few miles south of the stadium and is conveniently located for those driving up from NYC/NJ and has easy access to the Willow Street Gate on gameday. The area added several chain hotels like the Homewood Suites. The Hilton Garden Inn is also located in Glastonbury, a few miles south of the stadium. Expect to pay $120+. Across the river from Glastonbury in Wethersfield is a Comfort Inn. The motel is convenient to I-91.

LODGING options found in downtown Hartford (10 minutes away):

If you plan to just go to the game and you want a convenient place to “crash” the motels in East Hartford should be okay. If you want to be near more amenities you should try downtown Hartford. The cities of Vernon and Manchester to the east also offer some lodging and are within 20 minutes of the stadium.

The Goodwin Hotel (boutique hotel)closed at the end of 2008. The Residence Inn by Marriott has a real nice property. The Marriott has also opened a second huge hotel in 2005, this one is very upscale. The nice thing about the Marriott is it is located next door to the brand new in 2009, Connecticut Science Center. The Hilton also is fairly new and just had a recent major renovation. If people want to stay in the nicer suburbs southwest of Hartford (closer to NY Metro area), the Farmington Marriott or Courtyard by Marriott are very good hotels. Because they are business-focused, they likely will have plenty of rooms on weekend nights.

Hartford Marriott

More info about Lodging can be found at the local city visitors' website.

If you want to stay in an old New England Inn many of them are located near Hartford. A few of the notable ones to the west and northwest are the Litchfield Inn and Interlaken Inn. The Griswold Inn south of Hartford near Old Lyme is another nice inn.


A major mall – Buckland’s Hills Mall in Manchester, is only a few exits east: it has major department stores and most restaurants you would find around a typical core mall. (All the family chains) Also, newly opened and also very popular is The Promenade Shops at Evergreen Walk it is located also in Manchester just a few miles east of the stadium. It is upscale and quite nice.
The West Farms Mall in West Hartford is very nice and a bit more upscale than Buckland Hills. West Hartford Center (literally the town center) is very nice, with smaller stores, restaurants, etc (see below in dining section for more info). Probably the most popular high end shopping center in West Hartford is The Blue Back Square. It has an awesome mix of both popular and some very exclusive retailers and food establishments. Two other sources of shopping info in Hartford to keep your nonfootball watching spouse occupied for hours:

Shoppes at Buckland Hills

West Farms Mall

Finally, a new museum and science center opened Summer 2009 in downtown Hartford. It is the Connecticut Science Center. It looks awesome and should keep the kids happy for hours. It is located steps away from the Marriott Hotel.

Connecticut Science Center Exhibit

DINING: (outside downtown Hartford)

You can find several restaurants near the stadium (pizza, BBQ, etc...) Margarita’s Mexican Restaurant is located across the street from the two motels at 350 Roberts St. They have Margaritas, duh! As mentioned above this is a great choice for gatherings before or after the game. Just beware Margaritas is usually crowded on game day. If you are craving for an old time hamburger and sandwich joint then Augie and Rays is made for you. It is located south of the Willow St. stadium entrance at 314 Main Street. A close by option for those that want good pizza and awesome grinders is Queen Pizza, 310 Silver Lane, just west of the stadium entrance. Call ahead and pick them up as you head to the parking lots. They have a dining room if you prefer to eat there before or after the game. If you want a cheeseburger with a milk shake try the Shady Glen Dairy Store in Manchester. You want a great fish sandwich? Try Mickey's Oceanic Grill in East Hartford. Also, consider trying Pazzo's Pizza in Glastonbury. Also in Glastonbury is the fine J Gilberts Steakhouse located next to the Hilton Garden Inn. As noted above, there are great numbers of options around the Buckland Hills Mall … like Macaroni Grill, Outback Steakhouse, Fridays, etc… About 15 miles northeast of Hartford is Willington Pizza. It is worth the trip. If you have some time and want to check out the UConn campus in Storrs be sure to stop in Willimantic. The Willimantic Brewing Co./Main Street CafĂ© is a living landmark restaurant and pub brewery located in Willimantic, in the heart of rural northeastern Connecticut.
Finally, world famous Pepe's Pizzeria of New Haven has opened up a restaurant in Manchester a few miles to the east.

Sports Bar Alert!

The closest sports bar is about 2 miles east of the stadium (just drive east on Silver Lane and it turns into Spencer Street) in Manchester. All Stars Sports Bar and Grill offers all the TV packages.A nice sports bar called the Diamond Pub and Grill is also in Glastonbury. A Buffalo Wild Wings (First one in Hartford) just opened in 2007 off I-91 between Downtown and the Airport. It isn't real close to the stadium but it is an option if you want to watch games before or after the UConn game. It is in Windsor at 703 Poquonock Ave. Phone: 860-688-9464. If you are staying in the SW suburbs try one of these two locations of Sliders Sports bars. In the south suburbs is Rookies Sports Bar and Grill. It looks like a good one. Finally, downtown has a really nice, new sports bar called Black Bear Saloon.

Hartford Dining:

Hartford has a ton of places to eat. Some restaurants cans be found near the Hartford Civic Center and the Union Train Station for those staying downtown. I have been told there are several very good Italian Restaurants on Franklin Ave. downtown.

UConn fan Gars45 gives a nice overview of the Downtown and West Hartford Dining Scene:
downtown Hartford has many nice restaurants and bars, but not centralized on one convenient little strip. To direct people, I would describe the general vicinity as the Hartford Civic Center block, which you could describe as Asylum, Trumbull, Ann Street area. The best are Civic Cafe, Max Downtown, and about 5-6 other very nice spots in this block. A block away to the west and south are places like Vito's by the Park and Black Eyed Sally's. One block east of the Civic Center is Main Street, and there are a couple of nice restaurant bars there, including the City Steam Brewery and Cafe and Morton's Steakhouse. Throughout the Hartford area is the Max Restaurant Group. Their places cover the gamut from burgers to Italian to Seafood to steak. It is worth checking out.

West Hartford Center is about 18 minutes from downtown, car door to car door. There you will find a concentrated strip of fine restaurants/shopping along the corner of two streets, Farmington Avenue and LaSalle Road. The entire walk is no more than a quarter mile, if that. These are interspersed with a number of little coffee and ice cream shops where you sit outside on the curb. It looks like a block of the upper East Side. The centerpiece establishments are Grant's, Oyster Bar, Elbow Room, Bricco's, but there are about four more in this highly compact little block. The place is just booming because, well, it's the suburbs, it's close to I-84, it looks just like a little city, there is plenty of low cost parking right there (e.g., $1.00), and there is no crime. The area is doing so well that currently a smallish high end shopping mall is under construction two blocks away, with a high rise residential attached. Right across the street from the Whole Foods market. It's that kind of place.

A Couple of Irish Bars
There’s an Irish pub, The Half Door, that’s very good. The Half Door is not the biggest place and its closer to the West Hartford line, they go out of their way to host international soccer viewing parties and probably would make an effort to accommodate an enthusiastic group of visiting fans. It also has an outdoor patio to accommodate more people. Another good Irish Bar is Sully’s. It is located west of downtown Hartford.

Parking info for Downtown Hartford:

Plenty of garages and on street surface lots. The central core seems well lit and safe. Stay near the businesses + bars and you should be fine…that’s the mantra I would remember.

Downtown Hartford

Nearby Diversions
Connecticut offers so much in such a small state. If you happen to be there during October you should be blessed with some opportunities to see some great fall foliage. Take a drive to Litchfield County about an hour northwest. You can hike a nice section of the Appalachian Trail along the Housatonic, in addition to canoeing, whitewater rafting, fly fishing etc. For the wife there is antiques galore and quaint little towns.

If you are looking for that famous New England Seaport look then Mystic is it. It is located about an hour southeast of Hartford. Nearby Mystic is the Coast Guard Academy in New London. Tours are available.


If you like to gamble there are two casinos close to Hartford. Both are about 45 mins southeast. Foxwoods is under going a huge expansion MGM Grand at Foxwoods, had a breathtaking new $700 million development project, completed in 2008.

Mohegan Sun is a full service casino with gaming, hotel, dining, shows and golf. Either one can make it a great experience over a weekend of football and casino.

There are a wide range of courses in the greater Hartford area. Here are some choices for you to consider:
Rockledge Golf Club is a fairly easy, usually well maintained public course in West Hartford about a mile off I-84 (take exit 41).
Yardage: reds: 5434, whites: 6069, blues: 6436.Cost: About $30 to walk on weekends.

Rockledge Golf Course

Long Hill Country Club A very nice municipal golf course not far from "The Rent" in East Hartford. Rates are very reasonable. It isn't a super long course (5800-6000 yards) but should give you a good challenge for under $25. It just might be your best value around Hartford.

Lyman Orchards Golf Club features two top notch public courses, one designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr and one by Gary Player. Both are beautiful, well maintained and very challenging. And both are ranked among the top 10 public courses in the state of Connecticut. This club is located about 20 miles south of Hartford in Middlefield.
Yardage: RTJ blues: 7,011, Gary Player blues: 6,725Cost: $65 to ride on the weekends (carts are mandatory).

Lyman Orchards Golf Club

Manchester Country Club has reasonable rates and is very playable. It's a much more interesting and scenic layout than most other value courses. They've finished a number of renovations to the design originally laid out in the 1920's by the same guy who designed Medinah.

Manchester Country Club--close by and very nice

Keney Park is a municipal course located in the City of Hartford, not far from downtown. Built in 1927, it features small elevated undulating greens and tight fairways. The tee boxes tend to be mostly dirt and the fairways get dry and hard-pan in the summer. The neighborhood is also somewhat questionable.
Yardage: reds: 5005, whites: 5678, blues: 5969. Cost: about $35 to walk on the

Another option for those who want to play golf on a nice layout without shelling out half a weeks pay. Try Goodwin Golf Course which is about 5-10 mins SW of the Rent on the other side of the river. The course is in a great neighborhood in the south end which is home to arguably the best restaurants in the city (one block from little Italy). If you would like some more info on the course and the local restaurants let me know and I will get it over to you. The course has been in great shape and you can't beat the price! BTW, Football fans ask for the manager--he is a huge UConn fan who reads the internet forums.

Goodwin Golf Course--just a block from Little Italy (Golf and Pasta!)

Another option is to play at Foxwoods , Lake of Isles is just across the street from the Foxwoods Casino Complex
Lake of Isles is expensive but quite nice. The Foxwoods opened two Rees Jones designed 18 hole tracks that are spectacular.

Another course located conveniently between Foxwoods and Moheghan Sun Casinos is River Ridge It is a good track, has on course beverage service, does not have flukey holes, but not in the same class as lake of isles. However, it is much more affordable.

Not to be outdone Mohegan Sun also offers their golf course at Pautipaug. From their webite:
A private 18-hole championship golf course considered by many to be the best kept secret in all of Connecticut. It is nestled in the hills of Baltic, Connecticut, located minutes from Norwich, New London and Willimantic.

The country club property gently rolls through the scenic hills of the southeastern corner of the state. Established in 1960, Mohegan Sun Country Club at Pautipaug is recognized for immaculate conditions and impeccable greens.

The private country club atmosphere at Pautipaug assures a quality golf experience and an unforgettable day. Our members and guests have enjoyed the exquisite beauty of this golf course and we are sure you will too.

Hope this helps! TexanMark, Syracuse Fan.

A special thanks to UConn fans, “Pudge”, “DuzyPies”, "UConnfan009", "Palatine", "WiscHusky", Excaliber33, and "Gars45" for their help on this guide.

The opinions expressed in this guide are those of TexanMark. While every effort has been made to ensure all the information presented is accurate and current, it would be wise to verify things when possible. Please note that this guide is not endorsed by, or its site publishers, administrators and/or moderators.

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